The Estevan Area Literacy Group (EALG) has gone online in an effort to continue offering the popular Nature Smarts program that has been a summer staple in Estevan in recent years.
Regina Barz, who is the co-ordinator of the literacy group, said they wanted to make sure they had something this summer.
“This is very important, because normally around March, we have parents calling and asking to register for the courses. It’s an event that’s been run in the city for the last 10 years, and the parents are always asking to get some information as soon as some is available. They understand at the moment it’s not possible,” said Barz.
In most years, Nature Smarts is offered for seven weeks while outdoors, but that can’t happen this year. With more than 30 kids attending the activities, they wouldn’t be able to maintain social distancing.
So four times a week, the EALG will post a craft, experiment, reading lesson or another activity to their Facebook page.
“Kids can interact by posting pictures underneath, and every single kid who posts pictures underneath will be put into a draw where they’re going to be receiving gifts and prizes at the end of the competition.”
If restrictions are lifted before the end of the summer, the EALG might be able to meet with the in-person with the youths again.
“We’re watching each day for some updates, and hopefully we can meet with the kids personally, but right now it doesn’t look good,” she said.
The participation numbers are lower, because they don’t have as much engagement as they would with face-to-face interaction. But last week they had a few hundred people view a post, and they want to get the engagement numbers higher.
“If we can reach out to more kids, it’s better for us and for more kids, because they need some entertainment.”
The people they talk to say their kids are spending a lot of time inside and in front of screens, so the EALG wants to have activities that have both a fun and educational component.
Those who have participated have been happy with what’s been offered, she said, and she hopes the numbers will continue to grow.